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NZ helicopter crash: Four Britons among dead - UK Foreign Office

Four Britons were among seven people killed in a helicopter crash in New Zealand, the UK Foreign Office has confirmed.

The aircraft came down and landed in a crevasse on the Fox Glacier, on the country's South Island, on Saturday morning at about 11:00 local time.

Rescue teams in helicopters reached the crash site but found no sign of survivors, rescue co-ordinators said.

Two Australians and a New Zealander are also believed to be among the dead.

The recovery operation has been hampered by bad weather, but is expected to resume on Sunday, said local police.

Pilot named

The crash site is on the remote west coast of South Island, which is popular with tourists.

The helicopter involved is believed to be a Eurocopter "Squirrel" operated by local firm Alpine Adventures.

The pilot has been identified as Mitch Gameren, a 28-year-old New Zealander, according to the BBC's Phil Mercer.

Inspector John Canning said: "Police received a phone call this morning [Saturday] to say that there was a helicopter missing at the top of the Fox glacier, subsequently we've had rescue helicopter up there and discovered the wreckage of an aircraft up there.

"The aircraft was carrying the pilot and six passengers. There is no sign of life up at the scene, and tomorrow when the weather improves we'll be going back into the scene to recover the bodies of the passengers and the pilot."

Formal identification of those killed will take some time, police said.

"Police have been liaising with the embassies of the countries concerned to ensure the next of kin are advised of the situation," they said.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Fox Glacier, on the remote west coast of South Island, is visited by thousands of tourists each year

A UK Foreign Office spokesman said: "We can confirm the deaths of four British nationals in New Zealand on 21 November. We are liaising closely with local authorities, and are providing consular assistance to the families of those affected."

The cause of the crash is being investigated.

The Rescue Co-ordination Centre New Zealand said it sent four rescue helicopters to the scene, including one with a cliff rescue team on board.

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